WASHINGTON (AP) —  President Donald Trump says the search for a new Supreme Court justice will begin "immediately."

Trump spoke Wednesday shortly after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. Trump called Kennedy a man "of tremendous vision" and said he hopes the next justice will be "just as outstanding."

Kennedy's retirement gives Trump the chance to cement conservative control of the high court. Trump said his choice will come from a list of possible nominees that he put out during his campaign and updated last fall.

The 81-year-old Kennedy said in a statement he is stepping down after more than 30 years on the court. A Republican appointee, he has held the key vote on such high-profile issues as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights.